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Perth & District Model Railway Club Visit!

Perth Model Railway Club Logo

The Eight Primo Meeting!

Another well-spent evening! This time I was lucky to visit the “Perth & District Model Railway Club.” Due to its location, the city is often referred to as the “Gateway to the Highlands”. I fully agree with that statement as I am passing the city quiet often when traveling to my favorite destination, which is highlands. I also like to call it Scottish Rome as it seems all roads lead to Perth. 

The Perth & District Model Railway Club is a member of the Scottish Model Engineering Trust, which is located at the Wester Pickston Railway. From either Perth or Crieff take the A85 towards METHVEN. Opposite Methven Post Office take the turning onto College Road. Follow this road for 3 miles, and around 100 yards before T junction turn right into the blue gate. If you wish to join the Club, there is a wide choice of different memberships for different needs. The Club meets Tuesdays from 10:00 am till 2:00 pm and Thursdays from 7:00 pm till 10:00 pm. They build both European and American railways mainly in N, OO and HO scales. 

Primo Models director shaking hand with the Perth Club Chariman

First Impression and History

This time, well prepared, I had no problem to find the right place for the first time. Well, maybe it is not my preparation, but the fact that the Scottish Engineering Trust is located in the woods with nothing else around. Lack of choices makes the arriving process effortless. Once I have gone through the blue gate, my jaw dropped to the ground and was getting back up only occasionally when I was trying to say something. I think there should be a plate hanging above the gate, saying, “Welcome to the model railway paradise!” I love being surrounded by nature, so just the location, surroundings, and quietness of the place made me feel great about the site. 

The idea of having a vast build warehouse, specifically for accommodating layouts in the middle of woods with “7 1/4 inch” and “5 inches” outside Railways going around, brought me goosebumps.  I have to say when I have entered their building, I felt as arriving at one of these great USA modeling clubs, which I often see on videos or pictures. The place was huge, bright, and filled with layouts. While I was walking around and greeting members, I could not take my eyes off the them. I hope I did not offend anybody by saying “Hi” and looking another way by accident. To put it in one sentence: the place was simply astonishing!

 

The exact origins of the Club are lost in the mists of time. What we do know is that as far back as 1962, the Club had moved into rooms at Perth General Station in a corridor between platforms 2 and 3, and there were at least three members! The Club was moving a few times and steadily growing over the years. 

Recently for a number of years, the Club had been very fortunate to be based at Goukton just outside Perth. Having left there, the Club moved three times in a relatively short period. As any club knows, finding suitable premises at a reasonable cost is not easy, especially on a long term basis. In 2017 having had to move again, we approached SMET to ask if we could buy land from them at their Wester Pickston site to build their Club shed there. Instead, they have received an irresistible offer. Instead of buying out the area, they were offered to join the Trust and simply build their “shed.” Later that year, they occupied the premises with the first official club night being 17 October 2019! 

 

Perth Model Railway Club Tour

This time instead of starting with a presentation right away, I have waited for a bit before kindly asking the Club’s Chairman, Ron Munro, to gather the people for a couple of minutes. I was delighted to watch all members absorbed in their work like ants on the anthill. I have stopped to talk to one of the club members who, as it turned out during the conversation later, was one of the leading club scenery builders, Bill Garden. He was working on a new N scale US layout that will consist of four base modules. After having a great conversation with Bill about more than just railways, I decided to start the presentation. This time I was not too happy with it; for some reason, I have not mentioned half of the things I wanted to say.  Maybe I should take more time to calm down from the excitement before calling the members.

Nevertheless, members seemed keen on listening and looked interested in Primo Models Trees.  While they were watching the dioramas and discussing their first impressions, I could not stop myself any longer from walking around layouts. All of them were wonderful! My personal, most lovely part was OO scale two curved bridges over the river, with the steam locomotive passing trough. I could not get enough of looking at it. I was also thrilled to hear that the Club has a lot of American model railway fans. I am a big fan, as well, and I hope to build my US sawmill layout very soon.  I wish I could have just a little bit more time.

 Later during the visit, I had multiple great chats with  Calum who is Club’s Social media operator. The two I would like to mention were about outside “garden railways” and a new webpage I was not aware of called RMWEB. Firstly the “garden railways”: Calum was kind enough to despite the lousy weather gladly took me out solely to satisfy my curiosity of how it looks in real compared to photos. I was overwhelmed with the amount of work that had to be placed on building all of it. These guys are not fooling around. 

RMWEB, on the other hand, is a place where both manufacturers and modelers can share their content. Club has its own “blog” there as well. Please make sure you pay a visit and give additional motivation for Calum to continue his great job running the page!

If there is one thing I regret from the visit is that I did not have a chance to meet one specific club member that I have heard of during the tour. The member is eleven years old and had been part of the club “for a couple of years”…He is also one of the layout operators during the shows. No words. What a guy! I hope to hear stories like this more and more often, as I would love to see more young people developing a broad set of skills while having fun modeling.

Perth Model Railway Clubroom
Perth Model Railway Club layout N scale, Bird's-eye view
Outside Garden railways at Perth Model Railway Club

On the End

By the end of the meeting, all club members gathered in another building a few meters away for tea/coffee. Once again, I was positively surprised by how well organized and comfortable the Club is. The cafeteria area which we were sitting in felt very cozy and like at home. While drinking tea, I had an opportunity to have a great chat with some of the club members in my table, including Chairman Ron. If you are thinking of applying to the Club, do not hesitate for a second to contact him. He is a helpful and cheerful person with a great sense of humor! I had a lot of laughs while discussing the “difference between passion and obsession” and hearing the stories he shared. Shortly after that, unfortunately, the time was up, and I had to leave unwillingly. Last but not least, I want to mention that the Club runs one of the most eagerly anticipated and reputable model railway exhibitions in Scotland “A Celebration of Model Railways” always held in Dewars Ice Rink in Perth over the last weekend in June. This exhibition is the biggest club-run exhibition in Scotland. 

 

 

 

 

Perth Model Railway Layout in N scale
Steam Locomotive at OO scale Perth Model Railway Club layout
US Railway Layout under construction at Perth MRC
Steam Locomotive at OO scale Perth Model Railway Club layout
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